Thursday 20 June 2019

Charity to help victims with court ordeal

Jim Hayes

Victims of crime need not be alone when facing the ordeal of court appearances in County Wicklow.

This follows the announcement by one of Ireland's leading victims' charities, Victim Support at Court (V-SAC), of the expansion of their court accompaniment service into regional courts, including sittings in Wicklow.

It means victims of crime, their families and prosecution witnesses in the criminal justice system can avail of a range of free support services, including accompaniment while facing the sometimes daunting challenge of attending court.

V-SAC Regional Coordinator Niamh Lambert said: 'V-SAC is the only charity in Ireland dedicated to supporting victims of crime at possibly the most difficult and traumatic time - when they have to go to court and face the person accused of doing harm to them or their loved one.'

Pointing out that most people are unaware that they are entitled to free support while attending court, Ms Lambert said: 'We want to let people know that they are not alone and V-SAC is here to support them during their trial.

'Our service is committed to making the court process less intimidating for victims and witnesses, giving them a safe space where they can be apart from the general public and a listening ear if they need it.'

Ireland's leading free court accompaniment service, covering all types of crime, V-SAC last year provided court accompaniment to over 1,200 people. This included support during homicide, rape and sexual assault cases, assaults, domestic violence and human trafficking.

Ms Lambert said V-SAC is expanding its service into the Eastern and South-Eastern Circuit Court Districts to meet a growing need.

'Demand for the service has grown year on year and that is why we are driving forward this expansion throughout Ireland.'

V-SAC volunteers provide support in all criminal cases where a victim is involved. The organisation's services are free and available to anyone who has been a victim of crime and due to attend court.

The organisation also supports victims in pre-trial visits, sentencing hearings, retrials and appeals. The charity is funded annually by the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime within the Department of Justice

Anyone who would like support while attending court should visit the website or contact V-SAC on or 085-860-7739.

Bray People